Art With Heart

Art with Heart “You that go out and fight the good fight of low-birth weight babies or rail against predatory lending or crime on your street or pervasive obesity or propensities for diabetes and high blood pressure or school dropout rates or high infant mortality or home-invasions or crack addiction or skyrocketing incarceration or crime in your neighborhood or multi-generational public assistance or dysfunctional families — all should look to your human base and measure it against the yardstick of literacy, and I believe that you will come to read the long ago words of Frederick Douglas with new insight and urgency when he said, ‘It is easier to build strong children then to fix broken men.’”

This quote is from a speech by Robert Bain, curator of "Literacy Within Reach," an art exhibit addressing black illiteracy. The exhibit ran in the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery from April 9 through May 4, thanks to a generous donation from Chuck Pennoni.

“Chuck Pennoni originally saw the exhibit at Cheyney University last year and was so moved, he was determined to bring it to Drexel,” said Shannon Gary, Associate Dean of the Pennoni Honors College. 

According to Bain, “the exhibit is intended as tough talk, as Brother-to-Brother, father-to-son or daughter, advisor-to-advised, mentor-to-mentee, this generation-to-next-generation talk. It intends to point out the real elephant in the room: that it is about literacy for the illiterate – those that can’t or won’t read and particularly those who would help them in any manner other than one that could and would heal them.”

The exhibit featured works from a variety of artists, including James Pate, Brenda Joysmith, William Tolliver, Jacob Lawrence, and Craig Holden Feinberg, a graphic designer focused on social justice who also ran student workshops during the exhibit’s time at Drexel.